[lg policy] India: After German in KVs row, new language policy for education soon

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Apr 22 15:28:41 UTC 2015

After German in KVs row, new language policy for education soon

    Vandana Ramnani, Hindustan Times, New Delhi|

The committee will look at ways to promote classical languages such as
Sanskrit and Tamil. Photo: Imagesbazaar

The union human resource development ministry (HRD) is drafting a new
language policy for the education sector and has set up a committee to look
into the matter. The committee that comprises eminent educationists will
submit its report within a year.

The decision to set up the committee comes close on the heels of the
controversy over the three-language formula and replacing German with
Sanskrit in Kendriya Vidyalayas in schools last October.

“The committee has been entrusted with the task to draw up a comprehensive
language policy for the country.  It has been given the mandate to decide
on the link language and look at ways to promote classical languages such
as Sanskrit, Tamil etc,” says a source not wanting to be named.

Till date, the three-language formula has been described in the national
curriculum framework NCERT. It states that English will be the first
language, Hindi or Urdu will be the second and the third will be any of the
modern Indian languages. Sanskrit can be studied either as a modern or a
classical Indian language.

 In 2004, the government accorded status of classical languages to Tamil,
Sanskrit, Kannada and Telegu and in 2013 to Malayalam and Oriya.

The committee, which was constituted in January this year, has been
entrusted with the task of studying the existing policies and programmes of
the government of India and the states, the efficacy of present language
initiatives of the government and promotion of various languages,
identifying gaps, suggesting remedies and modifications. It will also look
into the issue of establishing a link language for educational purposes,
promote the six classical languages, and assess the role of various
language promotion councils, autonomous organisations and universities, the
source said.

The panel will also look into the role of educational institutions with
regard to medium of instruction, and the language in which different
subjects are being taught in different states, It will comment on the
efficacy of the schemes related to preservation and promotion of tribal and
extinct languages, the source said.

Research projects on the promotion of classical languages, will also be
examined, with the panel providing a roadmap to be followed for protection
and promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity of India, the source

Anita Abbi, a former linguistics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University
and president of the Linguistic Society of India, says that the task of
drawing up a comprehensive language policy for the country is a challenging
one. Studies have found that the dropout rate of students in small towns
and villages is very high because they find it difficult to follow lessons
taught in class as it is not in their mother tongue. Language/medium of
instruction should be judiciously selected while imparting education to
ensure that the child does not end up spending more time in translating
lessons rather than understanding them.


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